rotating runs vs 1 large run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4Peep'sSake, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. 4Peep'sSake

    4Peep'sSake New Egg

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    May 10, 2010
    We are almost at the stage of building the run for the new coop and I can't decided if we should go with the rotating runs as planned or just do one larger run. We have a total of 18 chickens (2 are roosters.) Right now they are living in the modified old goat pen & run but DH has SLOWLY been building a new chicken house/garden shed. The back 10 x 12 is for the chickens. DH put in 3 pop doors with the idea of using rotating runs. We'd use one run for the winter where it gets most of the sun. Then rotate the other two in the sping/summer/fall as often as needed due to lack of veggitation. We live in western WA where we tend to get a lot of rain so I was reading about using sand in the run. It sounds like a nice way to go to keep the mud down, but do they miss having places to scratch up for bugs or plants to pick apart? If I go with the sand then there really wouldn't be a need to rotate runs since the sand would eliminate the mud problem. Also 3 runs means more work and more fencing material. For those who have sand in the run, is it all sand or did you leave some of it just for plants to grow (or at least try to grow.) The run is on a gentle sloop but the larger hillside is above it and there will be a good amount of run off, esp when we get the long hard downpours!
    I'd appreciate any input as I am really hoping that DH can get to this part this weekend [​IMG]
     
  2. LivinNewDreamInND

    LivinNewDreamInND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2010
    That is a good question. I like the idea of 3 runs, but then again I would probably just get more chickens to fill all of them all of the time, lol. We just built our run, it was 16x24 and it was a lot of work. So I don't think I would like to build 2 more. I have been adding sand to the run a little at a time as the muddy spots pop up. I think they will have completely demolished all of the grass and plants with in the next month or so though. Maybe you could get a big truckload of sand delivered and pile it next to the run and just add it as necessary?
     
  3. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    How big are the runs? That may make a difference- I gave my Delawares a huge run, and the hang out by the coop and don't use half of it. The Orps on the other hand, have scratched theirs bare.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Two runs!! Two runs!!!!

    I have been fencing off with temporary fencing to make the grass grow back. They get their favorite areas and kill the grass by eating it down to nothing.
     
  5. 4Peep'sSake

    4Peep'sSake New Egg

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    May 10, 2010
    If we did the 3 runs, the winter run would be the larger, probably about 35'x20'. With the other 2 runs around 20x20. We were talking more last night and my main concern is avoiding the run turning to mud this winter. What I am now thinking about is doing one big run with a covered "sandbox." The sand box would be right outside a pop door and be about 15'x20'. The coop is on a gentle sloop so the back half is off the ground about 3', so we thought if we stretched fence material under the coop seperating the front half from the back, that could be left open for them to get under the coop if they want to when it rains as well. With the main fence being the predator barrier, we could use a temporary fence if we need to section off an area to allow it to recover or if we need to do some work. Do chickens even go outside when it rains? Should we plan on a larger covered area? We were not going to cover the entire run but instead string wire in a zig-zag across the top and hang old CDs to keep the predatory birds out. (The chickens will be secure in the hen house at night and we have 2 dogs so I am not worried about any animals climbing over the fence.) Any other words of advice or things we should reconsider?
    Thanks~
     

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